By: Gregory Carrico

Without a doubt, we have all done something in our lives which we regret. It consumes us each and every day as we long for the ability to go back in time and make things right again. To alter the course of history. What if you were actually given that opportunity? Would you rise to the occasion? Or choose to take the easy route and slink back into the shadows? Does this concept sound appealing? How about our innate desire to step into the shoes of someone else? Have we not all at one time or another secretly craved to live the life of another? Their existence looking so neat and simple… while ours is chaotic and difficult. Be that as it may, peering through the windows of someone else’s life will only yield trivial and superficial results. A fantasy with the distinct possibility of returning a horrific result! In his book, Apocalypstick, Gregory Carrico provides two short stories which explore these very scenarios. A quick tour of the unpredictable human psyche amidst a horrific backdrop.

Essentially, there are two short stories in this book. The first selection is entitled Killing Tiffany Hudson”. In this tale, the protagonist, Crane; must battle his way through a post-apocalyptic world which has been overrun by supernatural creatures. He is determined to save a young woman from a horrific fate, and right a past wrong in the process. The second story is called “Finding Home” and revolves around the travels of a deeply disturbed individual who is on a quest to find the ideal home and life. Constantly struggling with multiple personalities, the voices in his head guide him towards the “perfect family”… leaving a trail of death and mayhem in his wake.

While the two tales are completely different from one another, they both have a number of factors going for them. “Killing Tiffany Hudson” is full of action and is a great mix of horror and science fiction. The action is blended well with the steady development of Crane as the reader is able to determine his motivation as the story progresses. It is both imaginative and intriguing for its ability to portray a post-apocalyptic world, while developing a main character whom the reader can slowly identify and empathize with at the same time. There is a lot going in this short piece however, and I must admit that I became lost at times. It did lead me to go back and re-read sections, which inevitably disrupted the flow.

“Finding Home” is a completely different type of story. While the previous tale is in your face action from start to finish- this one has events which unfold which are much more implied in nature. In many ways this makes it much more creepy and disturbing. I did not find that I could really identify with the main character in any fashion, but the macabre nature of this story was appealing and definitely had me continue to turn the pages.

Overall I enjoyed Apocalypstick. The stories are both quite short and great for anyone who is out for a quick read and escape from reality. In my opinion, there were some critical elements which are missing… but an entertaining read nonetheless.

3 out of 5 Creepy Stars for this one! ***